Coordinator, Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition

she/her

Wendy is a 42-year-old addict in long term recovery. Formerly in residence at Southern Maine Women’s Re-entry Center, she is currently a Coordinator for the Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition. As a recovery coach, Allen is passionate about helping others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope from active addiction into recovery.

Allen enjoy’s good conversation, baking, anything creative, and music. She is also a Facilitator for MHC Discussion Projects and winner of the 2022 MHC Facilitator Prize.

Talks

What if I Dared to Dream? 

This presentation is based around Allen’s personal journey from pre-addiction, active addiction and recovery. It focuses on the mind state of an addict, internal and external stigmas, how the addicted brain thinks, family affects, and what recovery looks like. 

This talk gives a “through the lens” view from someone that is affected by substance abuse disorder and shares insight into the struggles faced on a daily basis to find freedom from addiction. The message of this talk is that no dream is too big, and that change is possible.

Poet/Author

she/her

Samara Cole Doyon is a second generation Haitian American and multi-generational Mainer–this state claiming half the roots of her family tree. She is a wife, mother, and teacher holding a BA in English from the University of Southern Maine and currently completing a Masters in Teaching and Learning.

She has been a regular contributor at Black Girl in Maine Media, has been featured in the Deep Water poetry column of the Portland Press Herald, and has authored children’s books Magnificent Homespun Brown (Tilbury House Publishers, January, 2020) and Magic Like That (Lee & Low Books, June 2021). 

Talks

Embracing Our Magnificence as an Act of Resistance

A discussion based on my debut children’s book, Magnificent Homespun Brown, and how systematically marginalized people survive and transcend oppression through unapologetic self-love and jubilation. 

Assistant Professor, School of Legal Studies, Husson University

Professor Kamorski is a retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel with 24 years of active-duty service, including a combat tour in Afghanistan, 4 years at the Pentagon, and preparing Congressional testimony for the US Air Force Director of Operations.

He has served on faculty at the US Air Force Academy, the University of Virginia, Liberty University, James Madison University, and Piedmont Virginia Community College. Professor Kamorski become a full-time faculty member for Husson University in 2014 after retiring from military service.

Talks

Criminal Justice Discussions: Law Enforcement, Courts, Correctional System Challenges 


200 Days in Afghanistan: USAF Deployment in 2009/10 as an Inspector General


Counterterrorism/Counterinsurgency Discussions: A Strategic Look at the Terrorist Threat


Leadership: Personal and Organizational, Defined and Applied 

Writer, Educator

he/him

Marpheen Chann is the author of an upcoming memoir titled Moon in Full: A Modern Coming-of-Age Story (Islandport Press, June 2022), a Maine politician, speaker, community organizer, and gay man of color.

As a gay, first-generation Asian American born in California to a Cambodian refugee family and later adopted by an evangelical, white working-class family in Maine, Marpheen uses a mix of humor and storytelling to help people view topics such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia through an intersectional lens. 

Talks

​​Welcome Home: My Journey Through Foster Care, Coming Out, and Reuniting with Family 

Life is complicated and full of twists and turns. In “Welcome Home,” Marpheen shares his insights, lessons learned, and maybe a few laughs as he tells the story of being a second-generation Cambodian American who went through foster care and adoption, struggled with fitting in and adapting to a white-majority community, and coming out as gay to his devoutly religious family. 

Poet, Writer, Organizer

they/them

LaLa Drew is a poet, writer, organizer and facilitator. They experience life as a Black, Queer, nonbinary, transracial adoptee. Drew is creator of BloodLetting, a poetry night for queer and femme people of color and co-founder of PoC Meditation: Feeling the Body/Healing the Heart.

They are also a former blogger with Black Girl in Maine and former columnist with the Portland Phoenix. Their most recent work has appeared in Autostraddle, Sisu Magazine, Maine Sunday Telegram’s Deep Water, and Poliquads Magazine.

Storyteller and oral historian

she/her

Before returning to her family home in western Maine as a freelance storyteller and oral historian, Jo Radner spent 31 years as a professor at American University in Washington, DC. There she taught literature, folklore, women’s studies, American studies, Celtic studies, and storytelling.

She is currently writing a book titled “Wit and Wisdom in the New England Village Lyceum,” about a 19th-century village tradition of creating and performing handwritten literary newspapers. Radner received her PhD from Harvard University and is a past president of the American Folklore Society and the National Storytelling Network.

Talks

Burnt into Memory: How Brownfield Faced the Fire

Drawing on interviews with townspeople, letters, photographs, and newspaper reports, Jo Radner tells the history of the furious 1947 wildfire that in a few hours destroyed almost all of the little town of Brownfield in western Maine.

Neighbors fought and fled the fire, saving what they could and supporting one another, then returned to the devastated town to rebuild their community. In the Brownfield citizens’ own words Radner tells an epic story of terror, courage, generosity, and hope. 


Family Stories: How and Why to Remember and Tell Them

Telling personal and family stories is fun – and much more. Storytelling connects strangers, strengthens links between generations, and gives children the self-knowledge to carry them through hard times. Knowledge of family history has even been linked to better teen behavior and mental health.

In this active and interactive program, storyteller Jo Radner shares foolproof ways to mine memories and interview relatives for meaningful stories. Participants will practice finding, developing, and telling their own tales.


Wit and Wisdom: Homegrown Humor in 19th Century New England 

Whatever did New Englanders do on long winter evenings before cable, satellite and the internet? In the decades before and after the Civil War, our rural ancestors used to create neighborhood events to improve their minds. Community members would compose and read aloud homegrown, handwritten literary “newspapers” full of keen verbal wit.

Sometimes serious, sometimes sentimental but mostly very funny, these “newspapers” were common in small villages across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont and revealed the hopes, fears, humor, and surprisingly daring behavior of our forebears. Jo Radner shares discoveries about hundreds of these “newspapers” and when possible, provides examples from villages in your region.